Transition to the Aftermath of Corona

It is our hope that the corona virus pandemic has entered a downward trend in Turkey and the world alike. I’d like to call this episode the transition to the post-Corona period. This is an interim phase where we will have to make progress on various fronts. A time of social mobilization awaits us.

In addition to effective central and local government policies, NGOs and funding organizations should also take up important roles in this mobilization. The effectiveness of the coordination between the government, local administrations and NGOs will be the key to successful progress in this period. Just as life has been forcing all decision-makers to make some behavioural changes, it is now challenging the civil society ecosystem to shift its attitudes as well:

  1. To act quickly (sense of urgency): We should be able to take action quickly by making decisions with minimum bureaucracy rather than lengthy plans and lots of discussions. Less meeting, more work.
  2. To be flexible: We know that most funds and NGOs work according to long-term plans just as government does. But now, we may be in the most turbulent period ever seen by the world. We must be flexible enough to alter long-term plans and address the emerging issues.
  3. To adapt: We should be able to adapt the way we work in line with the requirements of this new period. Social support programs should be sustainable under these new conditions.

The interim period of transition to the aftermath of corona will require masterful elaboration in two major areas: (i) supporting employment as well as SMEs and cooperatives which are major sources of economic activity and (ii) spreading and deepening practices of good digital citizenship.

A quick glance into what can be done for the SMEs:

Return-to-work grants; sales development support and training; practical support and trainings for setting up the digital infrastructure required for online sales; assistance for advertising on social media; promotion of business contracts within the supply chain; building consumer communities to push up demand and carrying out awareness raising activities; assistance towards the improvement of sales hygiene.

The common goal of all these support mechanisms is to activate business. We are in the process of “less training, more action”.

A variety of provisions for supporting digital citizenship could also be implemented such as assistance for internet access; assistance for electronic device purchases and development of digital access skills beyond the level of basic literacy. Besides, we should consider shifting the medium of interaction between local governments, citizens and businesses to digital media and supporting this interaction with artificial intelligence algorithms and building databases based on these interactions.

Our attempts in this transition phase to the post-corona period may reduce the severity of damage more than expected.

Year 2020 at İNGEV

We completed the fourth year of İNGEV. It has been a year that we felt we have been helpful. We were also able to develop ourselves as to provide even more contribution. Spreading the concept of human development plays a significant role in the mission we undertake. This year, we will develop Human Development Index for Districts (HDI-D) and for Metropolitan Municipalities (HDI-MM) reports and disseminate them through various meetings. In addition, we will have a special section in regards to the measurement of Sustainable Development Objectives at district and province levels. Our preparations advance rapidly. We will realise the study conference of the project titled “Digital Governance Opportunities” that we conduct in cooperation with İstanbul Policy Centre and Oxford University on the 1st of April. After the Cyber Bullying Research we had realised last year, we are to handle the topic of digital citizenship in a more integrated manner. Through the Human Development Monitor (HDM) that we initialised in cooperation with İstanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Communication, we continue to publish research based social policy reports in regards to the topics of gender equality, social media reliability and Syrian – refugee perception. We will be presenting these to the attention of decision makers through various activities.

An important aspect of the mission we undertake is turning to practice under the guidance of research and taking on active site responsibility for human development. We focused particularly on sources of livelihood due to the economic situation our country is going though. The report we completed for the Directorate General of Migration Management and our public research have shown that the priority issue regarding social cohesion is the Syrians in our country.

They also constitute the most vulnerable segment of society in Turkey. Providing them with sustainable livelihood sources and increase of their contributions to economy and employment will also mean prevention of significant risks that may arise in the future of our country. We managed the incorporation processes of 208 “start-up” companies in a multipronged manner in the last year. This year we continue our high momentum through consulting, mentoring, digital support trainings, work permits and company incorporation assistances. Disabled people constitute the doubly vulnerable segment in this particular period we are going through. The topic of having disabled people reach livelihood sources is another field of responsibility that we started works on.

The step we took with İNGEV England Representation Office has been a symbol of the vision we bear. We would like to become a nongovernmental organisation recognised as reference in the fields of human development. A nongovernmental organisation that is independent, expert, based on competence, that made developing itself and contributing more and more an aspect of daily life …

An organisation that always remains candid …

In the end, Humanitarian development wins

INGEV Social Research Group is launching the Human Development Monitor (IGM) in May. We want to determine our country’s circumstances and needs by regularly monitoring the components that underlie the concept of human development. While there will be four reporting periods throughout the year, we will kick off the first period of the study by analyzing four important issues with four special reports.

The first report is “human security”. It’s about the extent to which we maintain our daily lives in safety. Could our beliefs, lifestyles, ethnic origins, gender, and ideas become sources security concerns in our daily lives? How safe do we really feel? Our second report is on “refugee perceptions” focusing on how Turkish society perceives refugees in general.  We do have the capacity to manage this vital issue with successful social integration strategies and applications. However there are also serious risks. We need to know that these risks can create dangerous tensions among people on the street.

Confounding an humanitarian issue—as defined by the UN—with domestic policy positions by demonizing Syrians and adopting discriminatory language; narrowing employment opportunities by exploiting Syrians as cheap, unregistered labor; showing open contempt for Syrians in the same way Westerners were once blamed for scorning at Turks are among the risks that may drive up the tensions.

Our third report for the first period will focus on the image of civil society organizations among general public. It will especially center on associations and foundations. In general, we don’t have a strong civil society tradition. On July 15, the NGO links of the attack on democracy also had a negative impact on the perception of the NGOs in society. We should also take into account the fact that some foundations and associations are politicized and use significant levels of public resources unilaterally.

In order to maintain a healthy social functioning, non-governmental organizations that are non-partisan, independent, strong in technical capability, and focused on their solutions, not problems, are able to establish healthy collaborations with governments within this framework. With the NGO image report, it will be possible to understand the development opportunities.Our fourth report aims to understand the extent of a new kind of violence that is growing inwardly; “cyber ​​bullying”. Maybe the number of people who do cyber bullying and those who normalize the situation are not least and do not know that they face cyber bullying. Legal and implementation reflections are not clear yet. We must increase our awareness of cyber bullying.

At INGEV, we always strive to expand our capacity. Our priority is to support the development of livelihoods while the hot summer months await us.

In the last 5 months, we’ve supported the establishment of 50 companies and completed their legal registration and conducted entrepreneurship trainings in 6 cities. While we are supporting companies’ establishment, we also want to ensure that the ones that are established grow and thrive in their respective markets.

Our consultants provided 225 consultancy services on business development, marketing, law, finance and information technologies. We answered over 850 inquiries to our call center.

In recent months, the main agenda of our country was the local elections which gave promising results for INGEV and human development. All the candidates who were in the “very high human development zone” according to INGEV’s  Human Development Index – Districts (HDI-D) and were re-nominated by their party for re-elected. A note to the political parties; If you have a mayor who has shown high performance in human development, nominate him.

The voters ultimately vote for human development indeed,

Best Regards,

Together, Truly

Together, Truly

Human development is a broad concept; it has many variables and there are esteemed civil society groups dedicated to these variables. We at İNGEV first wanted to contribute to the improvement of income distribution, to increase the skilled employment and to fight against poverty. We want to contribute by raising awareness, bringing up recommendations to the decision makers through social policy research and designing and executing projects with which we personally involve.

Growing through development is the main driving force for a happier society. But, we now want that the growth will be comprehensive, and we want to contribute to the fact that lower income groups will benefit more from the growth. The world has now reached a level where the word “growth” cannot be used without its comprehensive definition (inclusive growth). Now, we are at the time where this becomes a measurable goal rather than being a romantic wish.

Conventional capitalism used to believe that the growth of companies and brands was the only necessary function. Afterwards, we saw a period where companies became socialized with corporate social responsibility projects. We are now at the phase of passing to “new company”. We believe that contributing for the comprehensive growth, Gini Index and social responsibility to become the inherent performance criterion of the “new company” will facilitate the human development.

However impatient we are, we are aware that it would take some time for a better İNGEV with effective projects, permanent resources and powerful eco system.

But we don’t mind the distance. We just want to work together and truly with all those who would like to contribute.

Vural Çakır

Chairman, INGEV Foundation